How to Get Rid of Ants in Mailbox
Checking the mail is often an interesting experience. People still look forward to this part of the day, hoping to discover an unexpected check or card.
While finding ants in the mailbox can sting worse than discovering bills, you don’t have to dread tomorrow’s mail pick-up. Getting rid of ants in your mailbox is fairly simple when you know which strategies work the best.
Why Is My Mailbox Infested With Ants?
Considering that ants are typically found on the ground, you might be scratching your head as you try to figure out how they wound up in the box. Ants crawl surprisingly well up vertical surfaces, meaning the post gave them an easy route up to the main mail container.
Typically, mailbox ant infestations are discovered after a period of heavy rain. To scramble away from flooding groundwater, those ants might have found your mailbox to be the nearest safe retreat. Sometimes, the ants will leave your mailbox when the storm is over, but they might also find that it’s a safer place to build their colony.
Ants also crawl into mailboxes to escape other forms of severe weather. Leftover mail can provide extra insulation during the winter, and the box itself could serve as shade during the hottest parts of the summer.
Mailboxes are also surprisingly dirty, and leaving behind items with scents could attract ants. For instance, you might have food deliveries in the mailbox that make ants come running. Or, a magazine might have perfume samples that trick ants into thinking there are sweets inside.
Are Ants In the Mailbox Dangerous to My Health?
Reaching into a mailbox filled with ants could leave you vulnerable to painful stings. Fire ants are especially known to sting people multiple times. The effects can turn into itchy and painful blisters lasting over a week.
Sensitive individuals may have systemic reactions to ant bites, including feeling nauseous or severe swelling. Although life-threatening reactions are rare, they can happen.
Always observe children and other people who have serious ant bites for several hours to ensure they don’t have a severe reaction that requires emergency care.
What Are Other Insects That Infest Mailboxes?
Any structure that exists outdoors is at risk of a pest invasion, and ants aren’t the only insects that find mailboxes inviting. Bees and wasps often create nests in mailboxes, especially ones left open or untouched for long periods. Always open a mailbox for a home that’s been vacant for an expanded period with caution.
Earwigs, spiders, and roaches can also be found in the mailbox. While some insects are just passing through, others might choose to stay. A spider might create a web inside a box heavily infested with gnats and other insects.
How Do I Get Rid of An Ant Colony In My Mailbox?
For the most part, having ants in your mailbox is just undesirable. Even if you don’t experience a sting, there is still the chance that you could accidentally carry the ants into your house when you bring in the mail.
You also don’t want to expose your mail carrier to hazardous working conditions.
If you find ants in your mailbox, you’ll first want to wear protective gloves to avoid getting painful stings. Then, you’ll need to choose a method for removing the active ants. You could scoop the ants and their eggs out and into a trash bag, but this involves a great deal of hands-on involvement.
Instead, most people just use a hose to spray out the mailbox. If you choose this option, remember that you could be spraying the ants into the yard where they are still close enough to the box to invade again. If possible, push the sprayed ants out onto the street or another area where they aren’t close to anyone’s property.
Once the ants are gone, you’ll need to clean the mailbox thoroughly. Ants communicate using pheromones, which can last long after they’re gone and attract a new trail of ants to the area.
To clean the mailbox, you can start with soap and water. Washing the area with a soapy solution helps to remove dirt, potential food sources, and that invisible trail of pheromones. Then, you might follow up the soap solution with vinegar to further remove any trace of the ants.
After the mailbox is completely cleaned, you’ll want to look for long-term solutions that serve as a deterrent since ant infestations often recur.
Will Dryer Sheets Keep Ants and Other Pests Out of Your Mailbox?
Home remedies are often offered as a solution for pest control, and you’ll likely come across the recommendation to use dryer sheets to keep pests out of the mailbox.
Although dryer sheets aren’t the most effective way to keep ants out of a mailbox, there might be some nugget of truth to this DIY strategy.
According to research, certain compounds can be toxic to ants. Linalool, which is found in lavender, and sweet orange essential oils are two compounds that could serve as a deterrent against infestations.
While you’ll potentially find these compounds among the many chemicals in dryer sheets, there’s no way of knowing if they are in high enough amounts to make a difference.
You can still try using a dryer sheet to deter pest activity, but don’t count on getting rid of an active infestation.
How Do You Keep Ants Out of Your Mailbox?
After going through the hassle of cleaning out your mailbox, you now want to make sure that you don’t encounter this problem again. You’ve got several options for keeping ants out of your mailbox that are effective.
Some might recommend using ant powder in your mailbox, but this isn’t the safest choice. Putting poison directly into your mailbox exposes you and anyone else who checks the mail to hazardous chemicals.
Instead of using ant control products in the mailbox, you are better off addressing any pest problems you find outside. The ants had to come from somewhere, which means that you are likely to have an infestation somewhere in the yard.
Perimeter spraying around the post of the mailbox and other parts of the area can stop ants in their tracks. After spraying for ants, a pest control technician can recommend a regular schedule for using control methods.
Depending on where you live, you might need to spray monthly, or seasonal treatments might work.
If you would like to handle ant prevention on your own, you can also try applying diatomaceous earth, cayenne pepper, peppermint essential oils, and other smells that ants hate to the base of your mailbox. Here’s a video highlighting other scents that ants do not like.
Opening up your mailbox and knowing it is pest-free gives you peace of mind, and you’ll be able to start looking forward to one of the most exciting parts of the day again. Just remember to clean the box regularly, especially after a food delivery.